Nicola Sturgeon’s own MP turns on decision to change Alex Salmond evidence – SNP civil war

Alex Salmond inquiry is at ‘bad time for Sturgeon’ says expert

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The former First Minister was due to appear before a Holyrood committee today investigating the SNP-led Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints made against him. But Mr Salmond will not give evidence today, after the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) withdrew and then republished a heavily revised version of his submission to the inquiry.

Some 474 words appeared to have been redacted from Mr Salmond’s evidence.

His lawyer David McKie condemned the move and said the revisions caused “significant surprise and concern”.

He also said Mr Salmond was “entitled” to have his evidence published, and added: “If any aspect of it is removed, it compromises his oral evidence.”

But his legal representative isn’t the only one to have aired concerns over the matter, with one of Nicola Sturgeon’s colleagues also denouncing the move.

SNP MP Angus MacNeil said the move makes both Holyrood and the Crown Office look “crooked”.

He wrote on Twitter: “So yesterday- Salmond must provide the evidence!!

“BUT Today – Salmond must NOT provide the evidence.

“….To understate – this doesn’t look good for Holyrood and the Crown Office looks crooked.”

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Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservative Party in the Scottish Parliament, agreed with Mr MacNeil.

Commenting on his Tweet, she wrote: “I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with anything Angus has said in his life.

“But even he can see what’s in front of his face on this one…”

After telling the committee he would not attend the inquiry on Wednesday, Mr Salmond has instead offered to appear before MSPs on Friday.

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The committee now plans to meet in private “to discuss the implications of Mr Salmond’s response and the next steps for its work”.

The former First Minister’s evidence accused officials in the Scottish government and SNP of a “malicious and concerted effort” to damage his reputation.

Mr Salmond also alleges Ms Sturgeon misled parliament and breached the ministerial code – something she strongly denies.

The SPCB said it “collectively” decided to remove and redact Mr Salmond’s submission.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman, added: “The SPCB agreed to republish the submission in redacted form in line with representations from the Crown Office.

“We cannot comment any further on the redactions as the Crown Office has advised that its correspondence on this matter must be kept confidential.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Crown Office said: “In all cases where the Crown becomes aware of issues of potential contempt, these will be considered carefully and action will be taken if considered appropriate.”

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was set up to look into an unlawful investigation of allegations against the former leader of the SNP.

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